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Kirk Cousins and Redskins evade pattern of blown leads becoming losses

Kirk Cousins and Redskins evade pattern of blown leads becoming losses

SEATTLE — The Redskins saved their season on Sunday, snatching a victory from the jaws of defeat, a reversal of the pattern of blown leads we have seen from this team in 2017.

They built early leads against the Chiefs, Cowboys and Eagles only to see them fade away. In two of those games — plus the season opener against Philly — they had a chance to win with a late drive, but that was short-circuited by turnovers and various other errors of commission and omission.

The Redskins did let the 10-2 lead that they had with just more than 10 minutes left in the third quarter slip away. Russell Wilson and company didn’t make it easy on themselves, with Wilson throwing an interception to Will Compton on their first possession after the Redskins scored and then committing 30 yards worth of penalties to help kill their next drive.

RELATED: Gruden's challenge for Cousins pays off

But things eventually clicked for Seattle, and it looked like the Redskins would blow another lead. Eventually, they did. It looked like the same movie we have seen all season, and fans didn’t like the ending. But Kirk Cousins and the rest of the Washington offense wrote a different script.

The game left the Redskins in decent shape in a few different ways. Physically, they got through the game without sustaining any serious injuries, although Brian Quick could end up in the concussion protocol after getting smacked while making the catch that jump-started their game-winning drive. Perhaps the injury woes have hit rock bottom, and the health of the team will head on an upswing — although we will have to wait and see on that.

They also are in good shape in the standings. At 4-4, they are just a game out of a wild-card playoff spot. The win gives them the head-to-head tiebreaker edge over the 5-3 Seahawks. There is a long way to go before any degree of clarity comes to the playoff picture, but the Redskins are in a good enough place halfway through their season.

Perhaps most importantly, they are in better shape mentally after this win. While they came back from a smaller deficit this time, this game could be a springboard to an inspirational turnaround — just like the “You like that!” rally in the Bucs game in 2015 was. They won six of their last nine after that to finish 9-7, taking the NFC East title.

With the Eagles already sitting on seven wins the division may be out of reach. But the Redskins have a chance to make things interesting into late December, something that would have been unlikely if they had not rallied in Seattle on Sunday.

MORE REDSKINS: Washington's 10 best plays against Seattle, ranked

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.

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The Redskins are reportedly hosting Adrian Peterson for a free agent visit

The Redskins are reportedly hosting Adrian Peterson for a free agent visit

After sustaining a number of injuries to their running back group, the Redskins need help at the position. 

In that quest, the team will bring in veteran Adrian Peterson for a free agent visit, per Ian Rapoport of NFL Media.

Arguably one of the best all-time running backs in the NFL, Peterson not being on a roster at this point in the season might be a surprise. Last year, Peterson split time between New Orleans and Arizona and rushed for more than 500 yards. 

Peterson built his fame and name with a long run of success in Minnesota, including a 2,000-yard season in 2012. In 123 games with the Vikings spanning 10 years, he rushed for nearly 12,000 yards and 97 touchdowns. 

Washington is in serious need for depth and talent at RB. 

Rookie Derrius Guice went down for the season in the preseason opener, and last week Samaje Perine and Byron Marshall sustained injuries. 

At Sunday's practice, head coach Jay Gruden joked that his son, Jack, should take some practice reps at the position. 

Currently, the Redskins only have Rob Kelley, Chris Thompson and Kapri Bibbs as running backs on the roster, and Thompson hasn't played yet this preseason as he's working back from a broken leg last November.

The Redskins also worked out veteran runners Jamaal Charles and Orleans Darkwa. Peterson has the biggest name of all of them.

This offseason, Peterson also worked out with Redskins tackle Trent Williams.

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Jamaal Charles headlines a group of Redskins running back tryouts

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USA Today Sports

Jamaal Charles headlines a group of Redskins running back tryouts

Jamaal Charles used to be among the best running backs in the NFL, and maybe the Redskins hope to turn back the clock. 

Washington is dealing with a number of injuries at the running back spot, and to get through two more preseason games, the team is bringing in a number of veteran runners for tryouts. Charles is the biggest name coming in for a test drive with the Redskins, as ESPN reported. Former Giants RB Orleans Darkwa is also getting a tryout, per multiple reports. 

How did Washington get to the point where the team needs to add more backfield options in mid-August?

First, Derrius Guice injured his knee in the preseason opener. He will miss the season. 

In the second preseason game, Samaje Perine, Byron Marshall and rookie Martez Carter got hurt. Perine should be back in a week or as he suffered only a sprained ankle. Marshall could miss a month, making a roster spot flimsy, and Carter was waived due to his injury. 

That means the Burgundy and Gold only have Rob Kelley, Kapri Bibbs and Chris Thompson active for practice, and remember, Thompson is working back from a broken leg he suffered last November. He hasn't played yet in the preseason, and might not go at all until Week 1 in Arizona.

Add all of that together and the team was forced to bring in veteran options, if for nothing else than to get through the remaining two preseason games.

Back to Charles.

From 2009 to 2014, Charles put up absurd numbers. He approached 2,000 total yards from scrimmage in both 2013 and 2010, and put up more than 1,700 total yards in 2012. It's worth adding that Charles found great success with Alex Smith when both were playing in Kansas City. Just saying. He was undeniably great, and probably won thousands of people thousands of dollars as a fantasy football MVP.

That time appears to be over though.

In the last three seasons, injuries have robbed Charles of his burst and elusiveness. Last year, he couldn't break through in the Denver backfield despite being healthy for 14 games. He rushed for just under 300 yards. 

Redskins fans will have unfortunate memories of Darkwa.

In an ugly Week 17 loss last season in New York, he busted a 75-yard touchdown run on the first play from scrimmage and finished the game with 154 yards. Last season was the best of his career for Darkwa, he ran for more than 750 yards and averaged 4.4 yards-per-carry. He's only 26 years old and, coincidentally, played college football at Tulane with Rob Kelley

By adding Guice in the second round of the NFL Draft this spring, the Redskins thought they addressed their need for a talent boost at the RB position. With Guice out for the year, the position looks about the same as it did in 2017. 

Adding Charles and Darkwa seem unlikely to change that, at least significantly. And that's if either of the veteran runners even make the 53-man roster. 

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